13 October 2017

Swiss to hold referendum on banning face-covering garments

The Swiss government says voters will decide whether to ban face-covering garments like masks or Muslim burqas and niqabs.

The government said Friday a vote on the ban, championed by far-right groups, will take place. That comes after advocates gathered over 100,000 signatures to put the initiative on the ballot under Switzerland's system of direct democracy, which lets voters decide major policy issues.

The executive Federal Council will set a date for the referendum, not expected before next year.

Passage would put Switzerland alongside France, Austria and other European countries in prohibiting face-covering garments. The Italian-speaking Swiss region of Ticino enacted such a ban last year.

The measure was proposed by a group including lawmakers from the nationalist Swiss People's Party that was also behind a ban on building minarets in Switzerland. [Associated Press] Read more

Christian Concern intervenes to protect Europe from Sharia law

The Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights is set to rule on a case concerning the application of sharia law to a dispute between Greek citizens who are Muslims.

The case is Molla Sali v. Greece (application no. 2042/14).

Christian Concern has submitted an intervention because of the importance of the case and its legal implications for countries across Europe, including the UK.

The case involves an inheritance dispute. Ms Molla Sali inherited the entire estate of her husband when he died under the terms of a will that he had drawn up in accordance with Greek law.

Two sisters of her husband are claiming that since her husband was a Muslim, the inheritance should be allocated according to sharia law, adjudicated by the mufti. There are provisions for sharia law to be applied to Greek nationals who are Muslims.

Does sharia law have supremacy over domestic law?

The case has gone all the way to the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights. This is the highest chamber of the court, with 17 judges sitting. Its rulings cannot be appealed. [Christian Concern] Read more

Islamic school's gender segregation is unlawful, court of appeal rules

Schools in Britain will no longer be able to substantially segregate boys and girls, after the court of appeal ruled that a co-educational faith school in Birmingham had caused unlawful discrimination by separating the two sexes.

The court overturned a ruling by the high court last year involving Al-Hijrah school, a voluntary-aided mixed-sex state school that had been strongly criticised by Ofsted school inspectors for failing to uphold British values.

On appeal, Ofsted argued that the school had breached the 2010 Equalities Act by strictly segregating pupils from the age of nine, teaching them in different classrooms and making them use separate corridors and play areas. The segregation policy was also applied to clubs and school trips.

About 25 other mixed schools in England have similar rules and they now face having to overhaul their policies in the wake of the ruling by Sir Terence Etherton, the master of rolls, Lady Justice Gloster and Lord Justice Beatson.

Ofsted said it would now look closely at the other schools with similar policies, which includes several Orthodox Jewish and Christian faith schools. [The Guardian] Read more

Islamic faith school's segregation of boys and girls ruled unlawful sex discrimination by Court of Appeal

An Islamic faith school's policy of segregating boys from girls is unlawful sex discrimination, Court of Appeal judges have said in a landmark ruling.

Ofsted placed the mixed-sex Al-Hijrah school in Birmingham into special measures last June after it claimed dividing classes was discriminatory.

But a High Court ruling last year found inspectors were wrong to penalise on the basis of an "erroneous" view that segregation amounted to unlawful discrimination.

Three Court of Appeal judges have now unanimously overturned the previous ruling, finding the complete segregation of classes to be contrary to the 2010 Equality Act.

The judges ruled the segregation caused detriment and less favourable treatment for both male and female pupils by reason of their sex.

"It is common ground that the school is not the only Islamic school which operates such a policy and that a number of Jewish schools with a particular Orthodox ethos and some Christian faith schools have similar practices," they said.

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Faith schools are a bad idea. They reflect and reinforce divisions in society.

[NEXT] A far greater concern is that the pupils are taught that unbelievers are inferior, 'the worst of creatures' and destined for eternity in hell fire (Q 98:6) .

Not really a good basis for community cohesion.

[NEXT] .... And will the government, and Ofsted, please stop pussy-footing around schools which are operating illegally? If they won't reform, close them. And distribute the students around other, normal community schools. And give the closed school's assets to one of those other, normal schools to use in the provision of normal education.

The longer we turn a blind eye and just let things slide, the more trouble we store up for the future.

[NEXT] Religion is a lifestyle choice. Brainwashing of children into any faith should be illegal until they are old enough to make an informed choice.

[NEXT] Well this is a good ruling. Now let's move on to the prohibition of teaching of violent or antisocial texts from a book that purports to be factual statements from a real supernatural being.

[NEXT] If anyone wants to indoctrinate their children with religious claptrap it should not be done in conjunction with education. [The Independent] Read more

Market trader, 56, is BANNED from town centre after selling Knights Templar coffee mugs that are 'offensive' to Muslims

A market stall holder has been banned from having a stand in a town centre because she was selling 'offensive' Knights Templar coffee mugs.

Tina Gayle has been prohibited from having a stall in Loughborough Market after someone complained about the mugs.

She said the complainant had told the council the £6 Knights Templar mugs were offensive to Muslims and so she was asked to remove them from her stall.

When she refused to do so she was sent a letter and informed she had been given an outright ban.

Speaking to MailOnline Miss Gayle, 56, said: 'It's very unfair. The council told me about the complaint about the mugs and them being offensive to Muslims. They asked me to remove them. I said that was ridiculous and told them "no".

'They then printed off a letter on Friday at 4pm and said I'm banned. You're meant to have three written warnings before expulsion and they didn't do that. It was apparently something so bad they were banning me completely.' [1367 comments]

[TOP RATED COMMENT 10305 votes] Pathetic country we live in. Are they going to ban all shops and butchers from selling pork now?

[2ND 6968] .... am going to buy one in protest.

[3RD 6489] Citizens of Loughborough. Vote differently at the next council election.

[4TH 6331] WTF. Nights Templar is part of British history. Does British history have to be scrubbed clean so it doesn't offend anyone. This is sick - the country is almost unrecogniseable.

[5TH 4904] Sue the Council for every penny they have. It is time these PC brigade idiots were stopped.

[6TH 4253] Ffs .... I am SICK of this pathetic nonsense!!

[7TH 3793] What a complete and utter bunch of idiots they are at Charnwood Borough Council.

[8TH 3373 ] I find ignorance and stupidity offensive so would the council kindly step down to be replaced by people who pick up a book occasionally and can display less prejudice to historical facts. [Daily Mail] Read more

12 October 2017

Appeal against Dublin mosque over call to prayer ‘noise pollution’

Plans for a large-scale mosque in west Dublin, including an 29 metre (95ft) tall minaret, have been appealed to An Bord Pleanála over fears the call to prayer would cause “noise pollution” in the area.

The Shuhada Foundation of Ireland was last month granted planning permission by Fingal County Council for the mosque, community centre, and primary school on the site of Warrenstown House, a former HSE facility in Blanchardstown.

Dr Taufiq al-Sattar, a Dublin-based neurosurgeon, pledged to build the mosque in memory of his late wife Shehnila Taufiq who died along with their daughter Zainab (19), and sons Bilal (17) and Jamal (15) in an arson attack in Leicester, England, in September 2013.

Plans for the development, which would be one of the largest mosques in Ireland, were first lodged with the council just over a year ago. They were substantially revised earlier this year after the council raised concerns about the scale of the development. [The Irish Times] Read more

Three Ahmadi men sentenced to death on blasphemy charge

A district and sessions court sentenced three men to death on Wednesday on charges of committing blasphemy.

The court also fined them Rs200,000 each, but if they are unable to pay the fine, they would have to undergo six months of rigorous punishment.

In his verdict, Additional District and Sessions Judge Mian Javed Akram ruled that the three members of the Ahmadi community of Bhoaywal village had committed blasphemy by displaying a poster and banners at their place of worship in a manner that was offending.

Riaz Hussain, a shopkeeper, had filed a complaint against the three men at the Sharqpur police station. [Dawn] Read more

Algerian Christian on hunger strike after being jailed for blasphemy

An Algerian Christian has gone on hunger strike in prison after being accused of blasphemy.

Slimane Bouhafs was sentenced to five years in prison last August for a post on Facebook that was considered insulting to Islam and the Prophet Mohammad. Due to rapidly declining health his family applied for parole but a court rejected the appeal last Monday, prompting Bouhafs to go on hunger strike, according to Middle East Concern.

He is demanding transfer to a prison in Bejia, his home region, after contracting gout and suffering abuse from fellow prisoners because of his faith. Despite support from medical documents proving the seriousness of his condition plus a record of good conduct, the court denied his plea for parole as it was 'without justification', according to the watchdog.

Bouhafs says he is in danger in prison because of his Christian faith, according to another persecution monitoring site, World Watch Monitor, after he converted from Islam in 1997. [Christian Today] Read more

09 October 2017

Italian Interior Minister Says Ban on Islamic Law ‘Non-Negotiable’

“It is not possible to subject our country to a jurisdiction marked by religious radicalism,” said Italian Interior Minister Marco Minniti on Sunday, stressing that there can be no question of allowing sharia law a foothold in Italy.

“Whoever looks to sharia law must understand that it won’t happen in Italy,” Minniti told an assembly at the School of Democracy in the northern Italian city of Aosta, adding that “on this question there can be no middle ground since these values are non-negotiable.”

The Minister tied the question of Islamic law to that of “women’s equality with men,” noting that “we are a country that has made enormous strides forward in this matter.”

Insistence on sharia law, Minniti suggested, is caused by a lack of immigrant integration into Italian society, which is devastating for a nation’s future. The only way to truly integrate migrants, Minniti said, is for Italy to uphold a clear, unequivocal national identity. [Breitbart London] Read more

Marrying a non-Muslim man as a Muslim woman poses daily challenges

.... Two weeks ago, Tunisia became the only country in the Arab world to officially allow Muslim women to marry non-Muslim men, a decision that has sparked outrage in my native country, Egypt, and triggered fresh memories of my own ordeals as an “outsider”, who dared cross the cultural divide and marry a westerner.

In the early days of my relationship, I assumed that the only challenge would be from my mother, my only close relative. I was wrong; the challenges extended far beyond the immediate family. Indeed, although my mother strongly opposed the marriage, she later mellowed and respected my wish after my husband went to Egypt, converted to Islam, and formally proposed to me. Although my ex-husband formally converted in Al-Azhar, he did not take a Muslim name. That was enough to render his faith as “questionable”.

Shortly before midnight, after touring Damascus, we were interrupted in our hostel room by a rude wake up call – literally. An aggressive voice at the door said, “We are the night staff, we need to check your marriage certificate.”

Although we had shown the precious certificate to the afternoon staff earlier, the night staffs were not convinced. They wanted to check it one more time – at around midnight. “This is a Muslim country, and you claim to be Muslim,” one of them said. The two hostel staff looked bemused and offended when I responded angrily, “Yes, I am Muslim, and I have the right to choose my husband.” [inews.co.uk] Read more

Hate crime targeting UK mosques more than doubled in past year, figures show

Hate crimes targeting mosques across the UK more than doubled between 2016 and 2017, new figures have revealed.

Police forces recorded 110 hate crimes directed at Muslim places of worship between March and July this year, up from 47 over the same six month period in 2016.

The Press Association reports that racist abuse, acts of vandalism at mosques and bomb threats feature heavily among the reported hate crimes.

Smashed windows at mosques, damage to cars parked outside and graffiti were all recorded along with physical assaults on Muslims on their way in or out of the buildings, two cases of arson and two complaints of bacon being left on mosque doors.

Shadow Home Secretary Diane Abbott called the figures “deeply troubling”.

“Attacks on any religious group or minority are abominable,” she said, adding: “These anti-Muslim attacks will be condemned by all decent people.”

[TOP RATED COMMENT] Of course the Muslims are the victim group here.

I mean occasionally someone puts a bacon rasher in a Mosque car park whilst they rape thosands of little girls and conduct numerous mass murder attacks.

[NEXT] When you consider getting Jailed for 12 months for throwing a Bacon Sandwich and a Muslim who got a caution for threatening to behead a 10 yr old innocent Army Cadet - the Racism in favour of Islam is staggering!

The Indy chooses to ignore those facts as always!

[NEXT] Our government, and other EU governments, refuse to recognise the concern of a majority of the population at the establishment of muslim communities in our countries. The government survey referenced below by Honest outlines many of the problems but we are repeatedly told it is all 'our' fault for failing to provide help and support, for failing to employ, for failing to make concessions.

It is not our fault, many muslims want a life apart. They want all the advantages of living in Europe but while continuing to live according to their culture and mores. Indeed they want more separatism, more influence.

While the percentage of muslims in the UK is still relatively low (6%) the numbers in the lower age ranges are higher, the growth rate is higher. And the 'noise' made by muslims about their rights, what has to be done for them is out of proportion. It is perfectly possible, if nothing is done, that the UK will become majority muslim. As a woman, in particular, that thought fills me with dread.

We are not allowed to debate this, we are labelled racist, Islamophobic. Read the Tom North comment below, report people for 'extremism', no debate.

It is not acceptable that discussing this subject is taboo. It should be debated in parliament. It is a major question on the future direction of our country.

[NEXT] It seems very strange that a religion whose god, Allah, describes me and 6 billion other non-Muslims on Earth as trash and dirt, should make allegations about hatred shown towards them.

"Surely the vilest of animals in Allah’s sight are those who disbelieve." (Al Qur'an 8.55)

And, of course, we mustn't forget that many accusations made by Muslims have turned out to have been false. [The Independent] Read more

08 October 2017

Merkel agrees 'refugee cap' in concession to allies

Two weeks after winning elections with a reduced majority, Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed on Sunday to limit Germany's refugee intake in a bid to unite her conservative camp ahead of tough coalition talks to form a new government.

Merkel's team huddled with her Bavarian CSU allies led by Horst Seehofer, who has angrily blamed her decision to allow in over one million asylum seekers since 2015 for the rise of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) party.

After 10 hours of closed-door talks, Merkel's CDU and the CSU agreed they would aim to cap refugees coming to Europe's top economy at 200,000 a year, according to a draft paper -- a formulation close to a long-time Seehofer demand that Merkel had repeatedly rejected.

The goal of the meeting was to settle bitter squabbles so the estranged conservative sister parties can again present a united front in upcoming coalition talks with two smaller parties -- the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP) and the left-leaning and ecologist Greens. [AFP] Read more

Cabinet Office finds integration of Pakistani women ‘shockingly bad’

Pakistani women are living in an “entirely different society” and are “shockingly badly integrated”, the UK’s first audit into the disparity between races will reveal.

The findings by the Cabinet Office, due to be published on Tuesday, will give an unprecedented insight into how people from different backgrounds are treated in society, including their access to healthcare, education, employment and the criminal justice system.

The findings appear on the same day as the publication of an independent report which will show that the poorest Asian families are the biggest losers from the tax and benefit changes and the cuts in public services spending imposed since 2010 and those changes still to be implemented up to 2020.

.... “It’s very shocking,” a source close to the Cabinet Office said of the disparity audit. “Other communities have integrated very well but the audit shows that Pakistani women who don’t speak English or go out to work are living in an entirely different society and are shockingly badly integrated.”

A recent study of community cohesion in Britain, led by Dame Louise Casey, branded ministerial attempts to boost the integration of ethnic minorities as little more than “saris, samosas and steel drums for the already well-intentioned”. [The Times (£)] Read more

07 October 2017

The Normalisation of the Hijab in UK Primary Schools Remains Unabated

There is a dire need to take a firm stand against this mindset that aims to brand women as objects rather than human beings. The idea of veiling infants is nothing more than a bid by some parents to satiate their false sense of cultural superiority.

With the news of oppressed Saudi women gaining permission to drive, we seem to have drifted along on a wave of happiness, to the extent that we have lost sight of the fact that human rights abuses very similar to the ones for which we excoriate Saudi Arabia are presently taking place in modern Britain.

Despite the excitement, the news hardly baffled me. It did not come out of the blue but was an outcome of cumulative, persistent resistance by Saudi women who are still fighting against many appalling restrictions, including mandatory veiling and male guardianship imposed by the totalitarian Saudi regime.

However, British authorities and many on the British left seem to turn a blind eye to the plight of Muslim women and minors at home, which is causing irremediable damage to British Muslim youth.

The policy that started with Islamic schools of making the hijab a compulsory part of the school uniform has now taken root in British primary schools across the country. [Conatus News] Read more

06 October 2017

It Is Essential For Muslim Countries To Espouse Secularism

In Pakistan and, in fact, most of the Islamic world, the very concept of secularism is completely misunderstood. Somehow the concept has been thoroughly confused and amalgamated with atheism.

An overwhelming majority of politicians, and even intellectuals, often try to defend themselves when "accused" of being secular, particularly on mainstream online media and Urdu print media. To declare oneself as a secular is considered equivalent to being considered an atheist in the public imagination.

The atmosphere is riddled with severe misconceptions about secularism. Due to fear of being branded an atheist and anti-Islamic, the word 'secular', in both letter and spirit, is virtually absent from the discourse. Even those who understand that secularism is fundamentally different from atheism often raise the question: "what good is secularism?" and "all we need is the right interpretation of religion."

.... Muslim followers are not monolithic (as they are divided into sects), therefore, a secular State, by being neutral (at least theoretically), ensures neutrality on religious grounds. It will also protect non-Muslims living within Muslim countries and thus promote internal cohesion and also improve the image of Muslim societies in the international arena. Secularism may not be the panacea for all the ills confronting many Muslim societies but it is still an essential step. [HuffPost India] Read more

A Turkish writer’s detention sends a sombre message about Islam

.... Last month Mr Akyol was invited to Kuala Lumpur by a reform-minded Muslim group and asked to give three lectures. In his second talk, he warmed to the non-coercion theme. As he insisted, people who fall away from Islam or “apostasise” should not be threatened with death, as happens under the harshest Islamist regimes, or even sent for re-education, as can happen in Malaysia. (For its all terrible human-rights abuses, nothing of that kind happens in Turkey.)

Afterwards, Mr Akyol was approached by members of Malaysia’s religious-affairs authority and told that he had done wrong by lecturing on Islam without their approval. Mr Akyol’s hosts reluctantly decided to cancel his third and final lecture. This would have highlighted Mr Akyol’s latest book, which is about Jesus of Nazareth and the common features of the Abrahamic faiths. The religious enforcers made it clear that the subject matter was not to their taste.

Matters did not end there. As he was about fly back to the United States where he currently lives, Mr Akyol was detained at the behest of the religious-affairs authority and interrogated. [The Economist] Read more

04 October 2017

Isn’t it time we called out newspapers who trade on Muslim-baiting?

In August, the Times’s front-page story was “Christian girl forced into Muslim foster care”. It was followed by a series of high-profile stories, with the paper proudly vindicating itself by declaring: “Judge rules child must leave Muslim foster parents.” The headlines created an almighty media stink.

Yet we now know from the court that far from being a child wrongly placed with unfit parents, as was reported, the five-year-old girl actually had a “warm relationship” with her Muslim carers and misses them.

In its attempt to create a storm, the Times not only attacked thousands of foster parents whose sacrifices are essential yet rarely acknowledged, it did so in a way that was framed as a clash of religions: one that appeared to give supremacy to a white Christian girl over a backward Muslim family, and one that seems to have forgotten that more than 1,500 young Muslim children have spent time in care at non-Muslim homes.

Contrary to claims, the foster family did speak English, the child was not denied certain foods for religious reasons and, while a long necklace was removed from her, this was because her carer was worried it posed a safety risk, not because of imagined religious strictures. [Guardian Cif] Read more

03 October 2017

Belgium moves to expel mosque imam over security fears

Belgium has moved to expel an Egyptian preacher at the country's biggest mosque because he posed a "national security" threat, officials said on Tuesday.

Immigration Minister Theo Francken revoked the residency permit of the imam of the Saudi-financed Grand Mosque, near the EU headquarters in Brussels.

Belgium has been hit by several attacks since 2016, including suicide bombings claimed by the Islamic State group that killed 32 people at Brussels airport and a metro station.

"Everybody knows there is a problem with the Grand Mosque in Brussels. I decided to withdraw the residency permit of the imam of this mosque," Francken told Bel-RTL.

"We have had very clear signals he is a man who is very radicalised, salafist, very conservative and dangerous for our society and national security," Francken added. [AFP] Read more

02 October 2017

New teacher disciplinary procedures to deal with 'Trojan Horse' attempts to infiltrate schools

The Department for Education is to reform disciplinary procedures for teachers to deal with any repeat of Birmingham’s Trojan Horse scandal.

Education Secretary Justine Greening said the Trojan Horse affair, when teachers and others attempted to introduce an “intolerant” religious ethos into Birmingham schools, was “a shocking wake-up call”.

But speaking to the Birmingham Mail, she warned that existing disciplinary procedures for teachers accused of misconduct may not be suitable for dealing with complex cases such as those seen in Trojan Horse.

A plot by hard-line Islamists to take over some Birmingham schools was revealed by the Birmingham Mail in March 2014.

An inquiry commissioned by the Government found in 2014 that Birmingham was targeted by a “co-ordinated, deliberate and sustained” campaign to introduce “an intolerant and aggressive Islamic ethos into a few schools”.

And Government adviser Dame Louise Casey, who published a major review on community integration across Britain, warned earlier this year that similar incidents were happening elsewhere. [Birmingham Mail] Read more

Lift on hijab ban in basketball welcomed by first all-Muslim women's team in Leicester

A ban on headgear, including hijabs and turbans, has been lifted in professional basketball.

The milestone has been celebrated among Muslim players, including the first all-Muslim women's team, which is based here in Leicester.

In May, the International Basketball Federation (FIBA) approved the rule change to allow players to wear headgear during matches.

The governing body had previously said that it was a safety issue but the changes took effect from Sunday.

Fiba began to revise its headgear rules in 2014 after Fifa authorised the wearing of head covers for religious reasons during games.

Female Muslim players have welcomed the change and believe it will make an important statement.

Raabya Pasha, a member of the first all-Muslim women's team, the Falcons based in Leicester, told Aljazeera: "It's important because more people will see that Muslim women can play, do play and are willing to play. [The Leicester Mercury] Read more

01 October 2017

Women forced to remove the veil on day one of Austrian burqa ban

Muslim women in Austria were forced by police to remove their facial coverings on Sunday, as an anti-burqa law came into effect.

The so-called 'burqa ban' prohibits facial coverings including niqabs and burqas, and also places restrictions on surgical masks, ski masks and clown make-up worn in public.

Yesterday, a woman wearing a niqab facial veil, which only leaves the eyes uncovered, was seen being told to remove her veil by two police officers in Zell am See, a city south of Saltzburg.

.... Full veils remain rare in Austria despite the surge of migrants and refugees into Europe in 2015, but they have become a target for right-wing groups and political parties.

The measures, similar to those in other European Union countries such as France, also apply to visitors even though large numbers of Arab tourists holiday in the Alpine country.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has previously indicated her support for a similar law in Germany, saying: “Our law takes precedence over codes of honor, tribal or family rules, and over sharia law.” [The Telegraph] Read more

30 September 2017

Brave Muslim lawyer who dared to speak out about misogyny in his own community is banned from making a keynote speech

A British Asian lawyer has been banned by fellow lawyers for speaking out in The Mail on Sunday about grooming scandals involving predominantly Asian men and white girls.

Nazir Afzal, who was widely praised for his role in tackling the Rochdale grooming scandal, has been barred from making the keynote speech at the Society of Asian Lawyers annual awards and ball in London on October 28.

He was shocked to be told he was no longer welcome at the glittering event because of his ‘offensive’ comments in this newspaper.

The embarrassed SAL lawyer tasked with notifying Mr Afzal of the ban told him he personally opposed the decision – but had been over-ruled. [The Mail On Sunday] Read more

'White girls are filthy': Wives of Asian men jailed for raping vulnerable British girls reveal why they blame the victims

I am meeting the wives of three men convicted of a terrible crime – of grooming and raping dozens of white girls. Nila, the 18-year-old daughter of one of them, will be there as well.

It was Nila who had approached me in Leeds when I gave a talk earlier this year. Small for her age, softly spoken, she had beautiful, green-brown eyes, Kashmiri, like her mother’s.

She was upset. ‘My dad is in prison because he was with others raping small white girls,’ she told me. ‘I hate him. He made my mum pregnant eight times even when she didn’t want to do it. I heard her crying. Six babies died. He did that to her for so long. But never went to prison.’

.... The other two women, Homa and Mariam, came as young, virgin brides from villages in Pakistan. Arriving here, they spoke no English and their mothers-in-law treated them like slaves. The women would not discuss the intimate parts of their lives at first, resorting instead to vague words and platitudes: ‘Muslim women must give husband,’ said one of them. ‘He want, she don’t like but must give.’

But bit by bit, they opened up, describing a world of loveless sex on demand, of domestic violence, routine debasement. ‘He did it hard, it hurt,’ said Nusrat. ‘It was always painful. He say I am his toy. I say no, he pushed me down, made me cry. He was like a dog. [The Mail On Sunday] Read more

The decline of Turkish schools - Out goes evolution, in comes Islamic piety and loyalty to the regime

DAYS before the start of the new school year, Merve, an eighth-grade science teacher, is flipping through the pages of her old biology textbook. A picture of a giraffe appears, alongside a few lines about Charles Darwin.

Teaching evolution in a predominantly Muslim country where six out of ten people refer to themselves as creationists, according to a 2010 study, has never been easy. As of today it is no longer possible. A new curriculum has scrapped all references to Darwin and evolution. Such subjects, the head of Turkey’s board of education said earlier this summer, were “beyond the comprehension” of young students. Merve says her hands are now tied. “There’s no way we can talk about evolution.”

.... A module on the life of the Prophet Muhammad will teach the same pupils that Muslims should avoid marrying atheists, and that wives should obey their husbands. Schools are also becoming a target of Mr Erdogan’s mosque-building spree.

A new rule requires that all new schools be equipped with prayer rooms, segregated by sex. “The interference of religion into education has never been as visible and as deep,” says Batuhan Aydagul of the Education Reform Initiative, a think-tank in Istanbul. [The Economist] Read more

Tony Blair institute finds that non-violent Islamist groups serve as recruitment pool for jihadists

More than three quarters of British jihadists have been involved with non-violent Islamist groups before turning to foreign fighting and carrying out terrorist attacks, a report has indicated.

Islamist groups have acted as a recruitment pool for dozens of jihadists who have gone on to join al-Qaeda, Islamic State and other terrorist groups, according to research by the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change.

Researchers examined the biographies of 113 people from across the UK who had joined the jihadist movement, from the 1980s to the Syrian civil war. The institute’s report says that at least 77 per cent of the sample had links to Islamism, either through association with Islamist organisations or by connections to those who spread the extremist ideology.

Such groups invoke their right to free speech but the report argues that the authorities need to take a tighter grip on such preaching. They include al-Muhajiroun, run by the hate preacher Anjem Choudary, who has been linked to multiple plots and attacks and is in prison for supporting Isis. [The Times (£)] Read more